The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) has raised the alarm over the increasing cases of blindness in the developing world, explaining that two out of three Nigerians are currently suffering from the disease arising from such avoidable causes as cataract and glaucoma.
Chairman of the association, Imo State chapter, Dr, Martin Ohiri, who made the revelation while briefing newsmen on the 2015 World Glaucoma Week in the state, said while an approximate 314 million people globally are visually impaired, 39 million are blind of which glaucoma is the second leading cause of the visually impaired and blind population.
Quoting the Nigerian 2005 to 2007 National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey, Ohiri disclosed that it is estimated that 1,130,000 individuals aged 40 and above are currently ravaged by blindness in the country.
According to him, a further 3,000,00 adults aged 40 and above are estimated to have moderate visual impairment and an additional 400,000 adults entangled in severe visual impairment, adding that a total of 4.53 million adults aged 40 and above in the country are visually impaired or blind.
As part of measures to contain the trend, Ohiri said his association had in the past eight years invested over N25 million on programmes for the prevention of the disease in the state, lamenting that in all, two out of three Nigerians are blind from causes which could be avoided such as cataract, trachoma, blindness refractive error and low vision.
He made it clear that the World Glaucoma Week (WGW) is a joint Global Initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patients association (WGPA) World Health Organisation (WHO), all professional bodies of eye care personnel, multi nationals, governmental and non governmental agencies to raise awareness of glaucoma, what it does to sight and how it might affect an individual.